In the book of James, we read this: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:7-10
Wow, does this sound like the sweet words of the gentle savior? Sometimes Jesus comforts us with words of loving kindness and sometimes like a good parent he speaks to us a bit more sternly with words of correction. However, these words although they may sound harsh, will ultimately take us to a place of personal freedom! We don’t always like to be corrected or instructed to do something. We don’t always see things the way God sees them. He is a God of omniscience, he knows everything all at once. He knows the past, present and future. He knows what we need for today and also the days to come. Matthew 3:2 tells us that Jesus wants us to repent because the Kingdom of God is coming. Well, what does that mean? He wants us to know that there will be an end to this world. How will he find us when he returns with that angelic shout at the last trumpet? Will he find us going about his business or our own business? This is a stern word for us all, but we do not want to be tricked into believing that we will go be with him simply because we have been “good.” That is not what he said, he said to repent. Confess your sins.
Let’s take to heart what the bible says, what the Lord of heaven AND earth is saying to us, to those who he says, have ears to hear. When we take the words in James and really apply them, we will see that it is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of those things in our lives that do not line up to the word of God. When we get serious and really mourn the behaviours and attitudes that need to be rooted out of our lives, it is then that we will receive the freedom we need. By leaving these things in humble repentance at the foot of the cross we enable God’s hand that was stayed, to once again release blessings unto us.
He really is a loving God who wants His best to flow into us. He tells us how that can happen. Obedience is paramount. Obedience to his word brings that freedom and that truth, along with so many other wonderful truths will bring us what we need. He longs for us to come to him and release these things that hinder us. Pride and false confidence brought by the enemy will keep us from repentance. But, really it is so simple. The rest of James chapter 4 will show us what to do. It is our decision if we will do it or not. God won’t force us to repent, but it delights him when we choose to be obedient, and oh how he smiles when we are finally released from bondage by doing so. In order to live that abundant life he tells us about in John 10:10, this must be done, for by repenting we keep the “thief” from stealing from us.